Sunday Scribbling #118 – Avon calling


punk.jpg picture by pemerytx

Jamie Reid art


He showed up in my inbox, androgynous at the time, as pure potentiality, a MySpace friend request link.  It was my choice to leave him unborn or to bring him to life with a click on the link.  Curiosity made the choice for life.  I was the willing accessory so I checked him out. 


He was a young punk.  He had on the requisite black AC/DC tee shirt.  His head was cocked and angled back in a who-gives-a-fuck way so that his shoulder-length black hair covered one side of his face.  He peered defiantly out of the exposed eye, which was pleasantly shaped.  As was his dimple and mouth and chin.


I clicked on his baby bad-ass face to go to his full profile.  Hilarious.  Dude sells Avon in the Oak Park area!  His “About Me” section read like a girl’s, “If you need eyeliner, eyeshadow, foundations, or just want to see a catalog…and many people aren’t aware Avon has a great line of men’s products…”


His interests and life goals were loftier than his looks.  “My primary interest is in Aristotle’s natural philosophy, but I’m also more broadly interested in ancient philosophy and the history of science and astronomy…I’m attending Fox Community College and have plans to go to University of Pittsburgh to get my bachelor’s degree and then go for my doctorate.”


He had a whopping 219 friends, all women of varying ages, most of them middle-of-the-road attractive with the occasional stand-out.  I clicked on a random few and from what I could tell at a glance, none were any different than any other chick on MySpace.


By now I was so intrigued by this mixed bag of debts and assets, my journalistic senses so piqued with the incongruence of it all, that I was compelled to find out what was up with this guy.  So I approved his friend request and sent him a quick note via MySpace e-mail, “Dude, you’re the coolest Avon rep I’ve ever seen!”


The next day he sent me an e-mail, “I am?  How tis that?” 


Not what I expected from a modern-day student of Aristotle, but I decided to give him the benefit of the doubt and answered, “Absolutely. Most Avon reps I’ve known are fat, frumpy, older ladies =:-O”


 He responded, “Lol is that what makes me better?”


Oh lord, it’s bad enough his supposed grad school mind didn’t get him a scholarship.  And really at that point I continued the nonsense because Curiosity kept goading me.  I wrote back, “Did I say anything about better?  But let’s be real—it has all the potential in the world to make you better!  Facts is facts—aesthetics sells.  How’s that answer?”


He wrote back, “Would you like an Avon book?”


OK, that’s it.  That-ain’t-right vibes were crawling all over me and I was ready to nail the guy.  I responded, “I’d rather interview you.  I work for the Chicago Tribune.  You’ll get some attention that’ll help you sell lip-liner like hotcakes.  You got it going on it seems.  Seems you’re super-enterprising, have mucho meaningful interests and goals, and it’s not everyday one runs into the atypical likes of you selling Avon!  Let me know if you’re interested.”


He didn’t respond.


The following day, before I headed to the office, I checked MySpace and his profile had been deleted.  Interesting, I thought, and made a note to re-check some of his women friends’ sites, to look deeper into the comments, and to do more internet research in general.  Then I took off for the office.


No sooner had I plopped my purse on my desk and turned my computer on, my boss came in and handed me an assignment, “Michelle, take care of this, would you?  I’ve had to put Dan on something else.  It has to go to print yesterday.  You got it covered?”


I just nodded and began looking at the paperwork.  The CPD had just captured a 19-year-old male charged with rape and had found him to be connected to a series of rapes in the Chicago area.  And there was a picture of my Avon guy.  Sheer dumb luck.




banksy-molo2.jpg picture by pemerytx




Jamie Reid’s “Never trust a punk” artwork snagged from


banksy graffiti from



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Click here for more on prompt “#118 – Chance Encounter” from other Sunday Scribblings participants.


13 responses to “Sunday Scribbling #118 – Avon calling

  1. what it is — fact or fiction??? – bewitched – bothered – bewildered trying to decide — you’re always so far out, i think fiction — but this is all so plausible, then i think fact — whatever, it’s an engaging story – love the “baby bad ass” image — and as usual you’ve taken me down a road that feels pretty comfortable, then KAWHAM!!! – the brick wall at the dead end that leaves me gob stopped with the last paragraph — you’ve done it again – it’s all good, but i hafta say this: you’re a “bad ass blogger”, so you are!!! — LOL

  2. F***! Sorry, it’s the only way to react to this! And I’m not anglo-saxon so I may get away with swearing in public places. ;) You rock, Miss A.

  3. I’m struck by the repeated follow-up question: truth or fiction? And I’m wondering what’s behind the question. If I vote “truth,” then it messes with some of my concerns about this story. If I vote “fiction,” then I have some problems.

    I vote fiction.

    I hope you’ll indulge me some discussion. I feel my standing in the Miss Alister Fandom is secure.

    There is much to like, things clearly falling out of the riotously imaginative avalanche we’ve all come to know as MissA. I think “Would you like an Avon book” was a devilishly funny comeback to Michelle on a rampage, complete with the curse of her insatiable Curiosity, and her need to pin her own self-outrage (why the hell do I even prowl these sites?) on the Other. Lovely dynamics dropped into place, molto bene.

    It’s the slambam ending that doesn’t work for me. Granted, I know these are but prompt-response exercises, we can do whatever the hell we want with them, but I don’t see you approaching the prompts lackadaisically: nor, for the most part, do I. Awesome crafting and thought and amazing language goes into these creations of yours. And because of the prodigiousness of your imagination and ability to translate it to the page/screen, I pity the Miss Alister superego that insists, no girl, get up from that screen now, cuz we’ve got all that shit to do at the office…Superego’s got a helluva job keeping you sidetracked from your calling to write more…and more…and more. Lotta energy expended in that job.

    The ending seemed a quick exit; it was not hard won. Rhythmically, it does not fit with the delightful possibilities that your story was setting up. I imagine you checking the clock, damn, gotta get outta here, time to finish, ba-da-bing. I suggest that a more leisurely Miss A would not have laid down this ending.

    But, dialogue’s what this is all about. What were your thoughts about the story’s development? Were you “happy” with the ending? I’m curious if it were all laid out before you started writing, or if it developed as you wrote?

    I look forward to your thoughts. Peace, Miss A.

  4. i got sorta hung up on the queen punk art… nothing is ever what it appears.. especially on the net… thaz my story and im stickin it to it.. oh, stop.. thought it was a great story and so believeable today we wondered if it was believeably true…

  5. Hey, all: this piece certainly did come off looking real, although at the time I wrote it I had only one thing on my mind: finding an easy out for SS. I was amidst a houseful of company and a job to do, so I took a scrap of reality and built a mini-beast. The only fact within the fiction here is that a pleasantly punky-looking guy who was selling Avon did show up in my inbox. Some of the e-mail conversation is real, the fact that he “disappeared” is real, but the rest is as fake as the day is long.

    Hi danni! Thanks for the bad-ass blogger title. I’ll snatch it up gladly, immediately, and worry about living up to it later. LOL!

    Michele: welcome! So glad you stopped by.

    Not a problem, Ms. Mood! You certainly can get away with the f-word here…especially when you use it to punctuate a compliment ;-)

    Mr. Hillman! Welcome! Glad you found it intriguing :-)

    My good and ever too clever friend, Paschal, I’d indulge you all the discussion you wanted if you were still inclined despite my late arrival to the table. It was this, it was that… But now that I’m here, I’ll get out the fine china anyway and put on some tea. Of course by now you know the deal, so there’s really only one major thing left to talk about: your intuitive prowess. You’ve got a powerful antenna system there, P, and you called it spot on nearly all the way. You got Miss A’s nature down pat for sure. The only data your TDRS didn’t pick up or transfer properly were the number of family members that visited, the period of time during which they visited, and the diversions that ensued! LOL! No, I wasn’t happy with the ending. And no I didn’t have it all laid out. I only had the one punky scrap of reality with me when I sneaked up to the computer. I just sat down, prayed for Godspeed and a good story like I always do and let it roll while everything and everyone in and out of the house rolled around me like water around a rock and that’s what I got. I guess you could say I was happy with it under the circumstances. What cracked me up the most the day I posted it was that I’d mentioned in an e-mail to Devil Mood how slapped together the thing was, yet how important I thought it was to go through the exercise regardless, and when I checked my site at the end of the evening, there you were with your antenna array and your something’s-not-quite-right-here bulls-eyes all over the place! That attentiveness was everything :-)

    SHG: me too, but fear not, and you’ll have to trust me on this one, the dude was as sharp as a bag of wet mice!

    Hi Rebecca! So glad you stopped by! Thanks for the wow :-)

    pieceofpie: I hate when that happens! LOL! However you got to the doorstep, happy or not, you and your delicious icon are welcome ;-)

  6. Miss A: Ya just gotta get all them familyfolk off in another room to watch PBS (least that’s what we does ’round here): they gotta know where your priorities stand, sister. Paper plates, too, cher.

  7. flip flops totally count.
    be my friend on myspace!

    its finals week and this college student cant wait to change her major.

  8. Till I read the last three sentences, I was shrugging off the story as an everyday occurrence. Because believe me or not, such things are so very common on the social networking sites…. I mean all the girls I know have gone through this…

    But back to the story, I personally love these slam dunk endings which leave you gasping for air. This ending wasn’t as intense as I would have loved it to be, but nevertheless it packs the punch. Much like many of the Tarantino movies and VERY much similar to Roald Dahl’s short stories (incidentally one of his books had the caption – Bedtime stories for those who relish sleepless nights) :)

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